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Posts posted by FragmentedCurve

  1. 32 minutes ago, iNow said:

    Right, which means you’re asking for us to explain a premise which is unfounded and quite likely invalid.

    You may as well be asking us to explain why all bananas are now covered in feathers. Until you prove they are, in fact, covered in feathers then it’s our time being wasted by you jumping immediately to a request for reasons why this happened.

    Asking you in return, “well, did it happen?” is hardly unreasonable. 

    It's not unreasonable. You asking that is what made me curious about it's validity. As I said, what made me post this thread originally was contradictory anecdotes. Possibly the belief that technical books from the mid 1900s were smaller developed at a time in my life when I was frequently being exposed to larger technical books due to life events such as undergrad.

    This is why I agreed to actually answer your question. Now the question is, how do we figure out if the increase did occur?

    32 minutes ago, iNow said:

    That’s how it came across when you asked if this data even exists:

    Of course it exists. Why wouldn’t it? Books can be measured and pages counted. This isn’t exactly controversial.

    My view of you has improved a little. That is such an epistemological interpretation. What matters to me is, did someone measure this data and make it available in a usable form. It doesn't matter in this context, if it can be collected.

    I'm not willing to spend more than a couple weekends of coding and/or making empirical measurements.

    Early into this discussion I sent out emails to the Library of Congress and archive.org, asking the former for methods of uniquely identifying a book and the former for data.

    1 hour ago, iNow said:

    Precisely. Yet here we are, still waiting for you to do so and instead getting comments like this:

    This is slightly unfair. @Peterkin's post was productive and brought up an important issue which would require further thought if this task is even worth doing. I have some experience with this because I worked on software for a bookstore that was responsible for automating the categorization of used books. The problem @Peterkin is getting is, if the scope of the dataset is restricted to some technical subject such as math books, we don't want to accidentally include layman books.


    Anyway, as an end result, would a table of each decade and it's mean and median dimensions be sufficient? 

  2. This thread is disappointing. If I've learned anything here, it's a thread about the value of anecdotal experience needs to be created. I'm going to wrap this up just for the sake of not leaving this thread hanging.

    First, I'll descibe what actually motivated me to post this which was initially avoided because I assumed it too verbose and unecessary . A common experience between me and my peers is that the size of technical books have increased. None of us have had hard evidence for it. It was just a common experience with the books we would read and were interested in.

    I had an hour to kill before I went to the airport and spent that time browsing a bookstore. While there, I looked through the computer books and noticed the publisher "No Starch" printed a copy of "Cyberjutsu: Cybersecurity for the Modern Ninja" that was smaller than their typical books. The experience of finding small books in math, computer science, and physics seems to be increasing. Some of the books even advertise the fact they're "smaller" in their preface. I doubt listing examples will be helpful... So, I made this thread, wondering why did the types of books I read get big; especially if authors are intentionally trying to publish smaller books.

    Obviously, all of this is anecdotal. I never tried to assert it was anything more than that. Some of you insisted I need to provide evidence that my premise, that newer technical books are larger than older books, is true. Maybe I should've defined "newer" and "older" so that the context would be clearer.


    10 hours ago, iNow said:

    Fine. Which of those data then are you suggesting cannot be aggregated and analyzed? 

    I’m pushing back on the absurd suggestion you made that this question cannot be objectively answered. I’m pushing back on the idea that any of us should bother accepting your likely flawed opinions which are themselves based on extremely limited anecdotes. 

    You're pushing back against your imagination. You wanted hard evidence that the size of technical books has increased, I started thinking about how we could practically collect that data. I never said it can't be objectively answered.

    If you're looking for people that want to make you accept some belief or bias, go to a church or political rally and get off science forums.

    You would've been more productive if you asked for clarification on miscommunications or details that weren't clear. You've added nothing but distraction to the discussion. I think you have a screw lose.

    10 hours ago, Peterkin said:

    ISBN's have only been in use since the 1970's - and not uniformly until the '80's -  so the comparisons from then to now could be made across publishers and internationally from about 1980 to today. Before that, they had different kinds of identification in each country, and sometimes each publishing house. Even if you restricted the search to the post ISBN period, you'd still have no way to discover which numbers belong to textbooks. Not very useful. 

    Even if you do have the ISBN, btw, there is no guarantee that any venue will supply all of the information. Amazon is pretty good on shipping dimensions - as are many independent vendors - but hardly anyone gives weights. They'll generally tell you the number of pages, but not the paper stock used, which may be anything from 22 to 84 lb/ream. They'll tell you hard or soft cover, but not the thickness of the boards.  

    I'm not going to attempt the empirical method in my own stacks, since I have only a few recent medical (either humungous or pocket-sized), Science and Environment studies and a handful of high-school math and language texts.  Nowhere near a sample size going out to the cold for.

    You bring up some important points, but I'm not in the mood to continue this at the moment.


    9 hours ago, studiot said:

    Yes asked as a question I think the answer must be yes they have changed, sometimes getting larger, sometimes getting smaller.

    However did you not originally posit it as a hypothesis? Which is why you have been badgered for evidence.

    I think that books have varied over time ins both size, weight and layout for a variety of practical historical reasons.

    Centuries ago books were rare and generally quite large and heavy.

    They also often had plenty of colour and quite a few illustrations.
    Of course this was all had done.

    The advent of printing and better paper reduced the size of the books but also did away with colour almost completely.

    They were still quite heavy as paperbacks did not come in until the late 19th century.

    During the 20th century we had two major wars and I have books from both periods which are 'economy' versions to save material.
    These have very flimsy thin paper a reduced typesize and very little white space on the page.
    Technical books were usually still hardback, but paperback versions and even further miniaturisations were available for travellers.

    However a lot of work was done mid century to determine the optimum 'white space' for readability.
    Interestingly the University of Cambridge adopted a peculiar shade of light green for their exam papers because they found out empirically that this colout resulted in the lowest numbers of candidates freaking out at the sight of the exam paper.

    The final part of the 20th century has brought richer times along with a great deal of presentation theory and vast technological capacity to print.
    However an exception being Dover which generally reduced the size, print and construction quality of older publications but at least reissued them.

    So yes, I would agree that sizes have expanded at the moment, perhaps a little too far and a little too expensively.

    No doubt things will change again in the future.

    Looking around today I have quite a few Schaum texts, they all seem to be about the same size and format, whatever their age.

    I have two very modern Geometry books one the size of a nomal novel by Roe and one the size of a Schaum book.

    But it really seems to be Earth Sciences that go in for the super large.
    Perhaps that harps back to their heritage in cartography and atlases.
    At any rate I appreciate the larger photos and other graphics material they offer.



    With respect to Schaum's and Dover, it's the same on my shelves. In fact, my copy of Naive Set Theory by Paul Halmos shrunk because Dover published a reprint which I bought.


    However a lot of work was done mid century to determine the optimum 'white space' for readability.
    Interestingly the University of Cambridge adopted a peculiar shade of light green for their exam papers because they found out empirically that this colout resulted in the lowest numbers of candidates freaking out at the sight of the exam paper.

    How and why do you know this?

  3. 2 hours ago, Peterkin said:

    It exists, but is so scattered and hard to find, it wouldn't be worth anyone's while to pursue. Unless you were doing a thesis on the subject as a revenge on boring professors...

    One way to proceed would be to follow the history of a single publisher. Which, of course, they're not. Pearson, for example, has had two dozen incarnations, mergers and acquisitions since the mid 19th century, and has published text and reference books under as  many concurrent imprints. It would be a Cinderellian task to sort through them all. Wiley might be easier, though it, too, has a number of imprints, including a couple in Europe, where the formatting standards may be different.

    Soooo - anecdotal we are and anecdotal we remain, yes?

    (*sigh* How i miss book sales!)

    The thought of getting it from publishers crossed my mind. I was thinking maybe there's a way to have the data come to us. If there's a way to uniquely identify a printed book, then crowds can submit data with all the data points that would allow us to uniquely identify the book they're measuring.

    If uniquely identifying printed books over the past century is impossibly, then as you said, anecdotal we'll remain.

  4. 1 hour ago, iNow said:

    Are you seriously asking me whether data on the number of pages in textbooks past and present exists or could be collected? Please tell me you’re joking. 

    Please don't assume details that weren't discussed. Obviously, huge amounts of data for the number of pages in books exist. You can easily scrape that from Google's book API, the Library of Congress API, Amazon, and many other sources.

    We didn't discuss what data points are worth collecting. The general question that's being asked is, have the (average) physical dimensions of technical books changed over time? There are many ways to look at this, right? We can break it down into different categories that might be worth looking at individually. Such cateogies might be, high school textbooks, undergrad textbooks, professional software engineering books, math & computer science monologues. This is totally ancedotal, but those categories feel like they have different characteristics.

    The obvious data points to collect are length, width, height, mass and page count (as you mentioned). Off the top of my head, I don't know of any source that provides those other data points.

  5. 39 minutes ago, iNow said:

    You’re free to measure anything you want when you arrive home and publish it to the spreadsheet software of your choosing, but unless your personal library offers a properly representative cross section of the entire global population of textbooks… and more importantly, unless it also offers a valid population to use as a point of comparison between modern sizes versus historical sizes, then you’re wasting your time.

    Why, you ask? Because you’re still dealing with anecdotes (just a fractionally larger set of them) and any conclusions you draw from such a misguided exercise will remain specious. 

    Right. You're taking this way more seriously than me and now you're making me curious. I was originally going to say: I'm almost certain there's a bias in my collection of books, so if everyone added to the data, I was hoping to help soften that bias. I'm not claiming that we would be able to conclude something definitively from this nor would it be good data. But a collection of ancedotes can offer suggestions. 

    But now I'm wondering, if we actually wanted a real answer to this question, does this data exist? If not, maybe we can passively collect enough data. This would probably be eaiser if we limit outselves to books that aren't older than the library of congress. The LCCN or ISBN combined with a print date will provide a unique identifer for a physical book.

    I'm thinking...

  6. 3 hours ago, iNow said:

    It’s going to take more than you simply asserting this for me to accept the premise as valid. Do you have anything more than mere anecdote confirming this increase in book size (calculus or otherwise) is actually happening?

    No, it's totally anecdotal. That's why I said "seem". I return home from vacation on Jan 5th. When I get back, I'll start measuring books from my personal library. I was thinking I can put up a spreadsheet on google docs or something so others can contribute their own data.

  7. 22 hours ago, iNow said:

    Asking because your request is too easy, but TBH even limiting ourselves to books on these much narrower topics would lead to fat flowing page counts… or would be if they weren’t all shared mostly as soft copies via PDF. 

    Textbooks are bigger bc we keep learning more (yes, even in business) and students should be able to educate themselves just by reading it / without supplemental instruction. 

    My original question was broader in scope than just high school or college textbooks. If we're restricting the discussion to high school and undergrad textbooks for the moment, it's easy to see that the increase in dimensions is not from us collectively learning more. Calculus has been calculus for a very long time. There's nothing new in an undergrad calculus textbook. The only difference I can find, is the introduction of calculators and the use of vectors in multi-variable calculus. (The older calculus textbooks didn't focus so much on vectors.) Most math books rarely need to be updated; despite this, their length and width seem to have increased.

  8. One of the main reasons I use old books these days is because I'll get a different perspective. The presentation of and feeling for a subject changes over time. A student can learn whatever he needs to pass a test from a class textbook. But if a student wants to develop a deep intuition for a subject, it helps to see the difference in emphasis and techniques between then and now.

    I have no complaints about better diagrams, I just don't think the size of a page has to increase much for printing a better diagram.

  9. My library consists of books ranging from around 1910 to today. Over the past 2 years I've slimmed down my library. I discarded many of my newer books (especially my computer books from around 2000 to 2010 and the 80s). However, I kept most of my older books because they're harder to replace. The older books I've discarded were ones I'll never reference again.

    When I was a teenager, I couldn't afford new books so I would go to used book stores to find math books. For example, I wanted/needed a copy of William Fellers' probability book but couldn't buy it new, but eventually found it for a couple dollars at "The Bruised Apple". Back then I use to literally walk 5 miles to browse through "The Bruised Apple" bookstore. I loved that place.

    Anyway, I ended up keeping the habit of studying subjects from old books in addition to using newer ones. So, I have a decent amount of old books, especially old math books.

  10. 6 hours ago, dimreepr said:

    A feedback loop, my teacher said 'this' so 'this' must be true, no questions... 

    This doesn't make any sense.

    17 hours ago, Peterkin said:

    To make them user-friendly, - and very expensive. If you look at most of those giant textbooks, you'll see wide right margins, as much as one third of the page, where they can put cartoons, fun facts, quotes, summaries or whatever. There are far more illustrations and diagrams than in the old books, lots of full-page, four-colour  pictures, large font size with extra-large headers and titles,on fat, glossy, acid-free paper. These monsters could last 500 years without half trying - and will, in the landfills - because they go out of print in about five years, when a new edition is released and all the professors require that one.

    Those "cartoons" and "fun facts" were such an annoyance. Color pictures don't lead to larger pages and I haven't actually measured it but the font size doesn't seem larger in newer books.

    Plus, it's not just school textbooks, it's professional books in general such as UNIX programming books. I'm on vacation right now, when I return after the holidays, I'll measure some of the books I own. That'll give me something more concrete to talk about. 

  11. Something that doesn't make sense to me is the size of textbooks and technical books. If you look at technical books from the mid-1900s, they were human friendly sizes. For example, the 2nd edition of University Physics by Sears & Zemansky which was published in the 1950s is split into 2 volumes and it's lighter and smaller than the modern editions. (However, the content remains mostly the same.) Unlike it's modern version, it was clearly meant to be held by a human.

    Any speculations on why this trend occurred?

  12. I don't really know how to answer your questions because they don't really make sense. From what I can gather, the important thing is you want [math]x>q[/math]. Below I give your conjecture with a simpler function that has the same property along with a proof. 


    Given the function [math]f(x)=\frac{x^2}{N}[/math], if N=pq  is a semiprime and p>q , then p>x>q when f(x)=1 .


    [math]1=\frac{x^2}{N} \implies \sqrt{N}=x[/math]

    Given that p>q , then [math]p^2>N>q^2 \implies p>\sqrt{N}>q \therefore p>x>q[/math].

  13. I'm coming to this thread late and trying to make sense of it. @Trurl, your writing style is difficult to parse. You should also learn [math]\LaTeX[/math] which will make it easier for others to read your math.


    @Trurl correct me if I'm wrong about your work and motivation. This is what I understand you're trying to do. The motivation is to find a method of approximating the smaller prime factor of a semi-prime. So, if [math]N[/math] is a semi-prime and [math]p[/math] and [math]q[/math] are primes such that [math]q<p[/math] and [math]N=pq[/math], then you want a function [math]f(x)[/math] such that there exists a point [math](n, f(n))[/math] where [math]f(n) \approx q[/math].

    And the reason you want such a function is so if [math]n[/math] is known or easy to find, then you limit the search space to find [math]q[/math] and you also approximately know the lower bound for [math]p[/math] because it must be greater than [math]q[/math].


    7 hours ago, Ghideon said:

    How did you get the number 3? From your formulas or by some other method? 

    I do not understand. If that is due to my lack of abilities or lack of valid explanations, I'll let others judge. 

    And I am still waiting for a connection to RSA encryption and prime factorisation of large integers. 

    I don't think he gets the number 3, it's a counter example.

  14. 11 hours ago, studiot said:

    I haven't seen this before. This looks interesting.


    11 hours ago, studiot said:

    Are you looking for free or commercial software ?

    What about add ons to say MathCad, Mathematica, Wolfram Alfa etc ?

    Free is always good but I'm looking for either of them. I own a license for Mathematica; so add-ons for Mathematica (or sagemath) are welcomed.


    11 hours ago, studiot said:

    You could help by narrowing the field of interest.

    I was trying to cast a wide net. Anything that is applicable to the physics and molecular construction of materials is desirable.

    Also, software for simulating the mechanics of materials is good. For example, I had an idea about canceling out wave propagation across a series of rigid structures of different material. In this situation, I'd hook up some sensors to a raspberry pi. Setup a structure to control the possible variables. Produce a wave through the structure. In this situation, I'd also be writing software for the raspberry pi. I'd like to move the structure(s), the sensors, and the wave generation into software. Instead of the software on the raspberry pi collecting data directly from the sensors, it would get the output from the software simulation.

    Any software that can simulate the physics & chemistry for the molecular structure of materials, the thermodynamics of materials, the Newtonian mechanics of materials, and fluid dynamics. I'd like workflow of the simulation software to work on first principles rather than being heavily designed with a specific engineering application.

    Is this narrow enough to be helpful? I'd like to take Menlo Park laboratory and put it in a RAD software environment. 

  15. I'm an outsider to the physical sciences. My only real skill sets to date are math (of the pure kind) and CS. But I seem to have an undying desire to pursue goals and ideas in the physical sciences. (I say "physical sciences" because I don't want to limit myself to physics, chemistry, or material science.) Many of my goals sit at the intersection of research and invention.

    Nobody is going to give me a lab and I don't have the means to build my own. Because I lack the means, I started gravitating towards existing hackerspaces (and possibly starting my own). COVID has put using hackerspaces to a halt. So, I started looking into using software simulations to experimentally test hypotheses.

    Now, this kind of brings me into a world I'm more familiar and comfortable with. While researching the tools of the trade, it was obvious there's a lot various tools & techniques and they vary by niche. Each niche is a world of tools, techniques and jargon. Navigating these established communities only for the purpose of surveying what they have, for the sake of finding an application to a specific problem is time consuming.

    Can the experts here pull together a list of software tools, books, papers and advice on the topics of computational physics, computational chemistry, and computational material science? Keep in mind, the context is the lone capable scholar using these tools and skills as a substitute for a lab.

  16. I get the feeling you'd be interested in the recent work of Stephen Wolfram and his crew if you haven't already been looking at it. He builds up geometry from just nodes and edges (graph theory) with the goal of deriving what we know about physics already.


    From what I understand, when he published his big book NKS approximately 20 years ago, he knew cellular automata (and graphs) was too limiting for his purposes because it imposed structure. In recent years, a colleague of his Jonathan Gorard put together the piece Wolfram was originally missing which was building his models with hypergraphs. After that collaboration they feel they've made a great deal of progress.

    I haven't been following their work closely, so I might be off with the details. Anyway, you might be into it.

  17. 5 hours ago, zak100 said:




    Above function is not returning values, Thanks a lot. To any one of my classmates: This is my assignment, if anybody copies my logic, he is the copier, I am not because I am using my name and logic is mine.



    Let's be a little more rigorous. It's not entirely accurate to say findComputerMove is not returning values. The problem is it's not returning a tuple and is instead returning the None type. Python is strongly typed. Let's go back and rewrite a previous code snippet:

    # Original code
    # a, b, c = self.findComputerMove(foo, bar, something)
    result = self.findComputerMove(foo, bar, something)
    a, b, c = result

    The first assignment is just a normal variable value assignment. At this moment, Python doesn't assert that the type returned by findComputerMove be a specific type. It will accept an integer, float, string, and even a tuple. Whatever type that findComputerMove returns, defines the result's type.

    However, the second assignment isn't the same as the first. It's a tuple assignment. The = symbol is a tuple assignment and it expects the right side to be a type that is iterable. And it must be the same length as the left. It's short for the following:

    result = self.findComputerMove(foo, bar, something)
    a = result[0]
    b = result[1]
    c = result[2]


    Here's some code about types for you to look over and think about:

    >>> def do_nothing():
    ...     pass
    >>> foo = do_nothing()
    >>> bar = None
    >>> type(foo)
    <class 'NoneType'>
    >>> type(bar)
    <class 'NoneType'>
    >>> foo is bar
    >>> foo is None
    >>> foo == bar
    >>> foo == None
    >>> def do_none():
    ...     return None
    >>> do_none() is do_nothing()
    >>> do_none() == do_nothing()


  18. In your OP, findComputerMove is defined as:

        def findComputerMove(self, row, column, pieceStr):
            print("Inside find Computer Move")

    I don't see 3 values being returned. I don't see anything being returned. When you write a line of code like the following:

    a, b, c = self.findComputerMove(foo, bar, something)

    the assumption is that findComputerMove returns a tuple of length 3. Is that clear?

  19. import numpy as np
    class Board:
    	# ...
        def findComputerMove(self, row, column, pieceStr):
            print("Inside find Computer Move")
        def computerModule(self, pieceStr):
           n = 8
           row = -1
           column = -1
           pName = ""
           row, column, pName = self.findComputerMove(row, column, pieceStr)   # This is the problem
           return True
        def main(self):
    		# ...
    if __name__ == "__main__":
        objBoard = Board(8)


    In computerModule you're calling findComputerMove. What does findComputerMove return?


    (Your code has more problems after you answer that and solve the problem.)

  20. 3 minutes ago, iNow said:

    More broadly, since repellents like Deet and similar products actually work, it seems rather obvious that ticks can sense and smell things in their environment that serve to alter their response or path... including differences between Person1 and Person2

    Ticks also often focus on specific hosts... and will differentially bite deer over dogs or humans, for example. 

    If that's true, do we know why they'd prefer one species over another? And what would make them prefer one host over another within the same species?

  21. 1 hour ago, iNow said:

    Was your friend wearing Deet?

    No. It was an impromptu hike into the woods behind my house -- a nature walk. We didn't have any kind of bug repellent. However, I don't know if he was wearing deodorant or cologne.

    The reason we did the experiment was because I've had so many anecdotal experiences like this with ticks, I wanted a real measurement. Especially with this particular friend. We'd walk the same path through tall grass or in the woods and I'd come out with ticks on me while he'd have none. On that day, I took the opportunity to have a somewhat controlled experiment, since I had the living tick.

    I should point out, if anyone tries to repeat this, I'd really like to know the results.

  22. I see where the miscommunication is -- how I got the tick. In this particular case, my friend saw it on my neck/shoulder area before it bit me. I just picked it up.

    The result could've been a coincidence. We only did 11 "trials". I thought it was enough to suggest that something is going on with how a tick finds a body.

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